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Answer Angel: Gentle laundering

Ellen Warren, Tribune News Service on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I collect vintage rock concert T-shirts, the older the better. But I worry about damaging them in the wash.

Some of them are pretty rare and expensive, but I don’t just want them sitting on a shelf. I want to wear them. How do I launder them safely?

--Richard M.

Dear Richard: I’ll give you the same answer that I once gave to a reader who asked about cleaning a cashmere sweater. These instructions are conservative, but you want to exercise special care for these keepsakes.

* Wash them in the sink, by hand, one at a time with a capful of baby shampoo.

* Use cold water only.

* Knead them gently but thoroughly.

* Rinse

* Repeat if necessary

* Press out excess water. (No wringing!)

* Air dry flat on a towel.

Another fashion/style query…

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Please settle a dispute I am having with my stylish best friend. It is about Travis Kelce’s pants. Taylor Swift and boyfriend Kelce were leaving a restaurant and the paparazzi photos show him in an off-white shirt with matching pants. The unlined, light-colored pants clearly showed the pocket outline through the loosely woven fabric.

I say X-ray pants like that, showing the pocket, are a hard fashion “no!” My friend Lucy says no big deal. I said let’s ask Angel Ellen.

--Kaleigh K.

Dear Kaleigh: This Kelce fashion choice sent me to the Internet to see what you and your pal were disagreeing about.


I’m on your side.

Light-colored, lightweight fabric clothes designed for warmer weather need to be chosen carefully for just this reason. Often, you can see right through the clothing to pocket linings (and underwear!). None of the paparazzi shots I found offered a Kelce rear view for further examination of what he was or wasn’t showing.

But online commentary gave Kelce a thumbs down.

“My biggest pet peeve. I never want to see the pockets,” was one of the nicer commentaries on his fashion choice. “Nice pants, bro,” was the clearly facetious comment of another critic.

If you worry about showing your underwear in your linen dress or pants, choose flesh-toned instead of white for better coverage under those clothes.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What are “purse charms”? I know what a charm bracelet looks like. I own two of them. But I am baffled by this expression. Why on earth would someone want to decorate their purse?

--Adriene P.

Dear Adriene: The urge to decorate knows no bounds!

It is not just purse charms. Take a look as kids exit school (or summer day camp) and cute decorative stuff is dangling from many, many backpacks. Often, if you cross the threshold of a high-end designer store like Louis Vuitton the least expensive thing you can buy (not counting perfume, lipstick or nail polish) is a “bag charm.”

I checked the LV website ( and there are dozens of cute little things you can attach to your five-figure (or six) handbag to achieve that special je ne sais quoi starting at $295 and soaring up to $2,340. There even are charm bracelets designed to wear on your purse. Not kidding.

The prize for craziest expensive do-dad in this category—but by no means the most expensive--is a leather Fendi lollipop holder. I kid you not. In collaboration with Chupa Chups candy makers, these leather candy covers hold a single lollipop. The adjustable strap lets you also wear it around your neck.

Yours for a measly $650.

Angelic Readers

From Catherine J.: “Some time ago, I remember you wrote about the strange things women carry around in their purses. I’d like to add one more. I don’t go anywhere without a plastic bag with a handful of Heinz tomato ketchup packets that I pickup in restaurants. I’m a big fan of McDonalds’ french fries. But, the McD ketchup is kind of watery and bland so now, for me, its BYO. Don’t forget to put the packets in a baggie to avoid spills! The last thing you need is a mess of ketchup goo-ing up your purse."

From Ellen: Readers, tell me the really unusual things you make sure to have in your purse, tote or backpack!

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